California governor names state’s elections chief to replace Kamala Harris in Senate

Alex Padilla will become first Latino to represent state in senate

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 22 December 2020 18:57
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<p>Gavin Newsom selects Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris in US Senate</p>

Gavin Newsom selects Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris in US Senate

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California governor Gavin Newsom has named the state’s elections chief Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris in the US Senate.

Mr Padilla is currently the California secretary of state and he will become the first Latino senator in the state’s 170-year history when he replaces the vice president-elect.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in DC, lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” said Mr Newsom said in a statement. 

“He will be a senator for all Californians.”

The announcement came after progressive Latino groups in the state, which has a 40 per cent Latino population, pressed Mr Newsom to appoint Mr Padilla or another Latino to the seat.

Mr Padilla, who will serve the final two years of his predecessor’s Senate term, was also backed by California’s other senator, Dianne Feinstein.

His appointment makes him the 10th Hispanic American to serve as a US senator, and he joins current senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Catherine Cortez and Robert Menendez.

Mr Padilla, 47, is the son of Mexican immigrants and had previously served on the LA city council and the California state senate.

As the California secretary of state he ran the state’s mail-in election caused by the Covid pandemic.

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